Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will clash for the 45th time in what is the longest rivalry on the ATP Tour as both advanced to the finals of the China Open ATP 500 event in Beijing on Saturday with comprehensive straight sets wins over their competent rivals. The top ranked Djokovic brushed aside the Spanish veteran David Ferrer 6-2,6-3 in the evening session as he extended his win streak in the Chinese Capital to 28 match wins and registered his tenth consecutive win over his fourth seeded rival. Djokovic improved to a 67-5 mark for the year and would be hot favorite to add a sixth title in Beijing following wins in 2009-10 and 2012-14.
The third seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain overcame a jittery first set against the 28th ranked Fabio Fognini. There were five breaks of serve in the opening set, but Nadal got the decisive break in the 12th game to seal it 7-5, and then took charge of the match as he broke in the sixth game to go up 4-2. The 28th ranked Fognini was bidding to become only the second player apart from Djokovic to have four wins in a calendar year against Nadal.
He saved two set points at 2-5 in the second set, but the Spaniard would close out the one hour forty five minute encounter 7-5,6-3. Fognini beat Nadal this year in Rio De Jabeiro and Barcelona on clay, and then at the U.S. Open in New York last month after being two sets down. Nadal won the final of the Hamburg ATP 500 event in July against Fognini. The 7th ranked Mallorcan is now 49-15 for the year. Nadal won in Buenos Aires and Stuttgart this year.
The final line up with my pick mentioned first with the head to head record is :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Rafael Nadal (3) ; Nadal leads 23-21.
The event in Tokyo lost the local favourite Kei Nishikori who was once again beaten by the Frenchman Benoit Paire 1-6,6-4,6-2 in the semi-final on Saturday. The 32nd ranked Paire had beaten Nishikori in the first round on opening day of this year’s U.S. Open in five sets and will be bidding to add his maiden ATP title he won in Bastaad, Sweden on clay in July.
Nishikori won the first set in just 21 minutes breaking serve twice, but Paire turned the match in his favour as he broke in the tenth game converting on his third set point. Nishikori who had won this title in 2012 and 2014, failed to convert five break points in the 20 point seventh game.
Paire took a decisive 3-0 lead in the third set and then broke again in the eighth game. He is now 23-14 for the year while Nishikori is 51-12, the fourth best ATP World Tour match wins record in 2015 after Djokovic (67-5), Murray (61-10) and Federer (53-8).
The top seed and the French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka beat the unseeded Giles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4,7-6(5) and would be hoping to clinch his 11th career title and the fourth in 2015. Wawrinka won in Chennai and in Rotterdam apart from clinching his second career grand slam title in the French Capital Paris in early June this year. Wawrinka is 47-13 in 2015.
The final line up with my pick mentioned first with their head to head record is :-
Stanislas Wawrinka (1) v. Benoit Paire (-) ; Wawrinka leads 4-1.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]